Thursday, December 24, 2015

Unsilent Night

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players organized a neighborhood caroling walk of Phil Kline's magical 1992 Unsilent Night in Civic Center and Hayes Valley last Saturday at twilight.

Volunteers were asked to download one of four tracks to their mobile phones or bring old-fashioned boomboxes that would play one of the tracks on cassettes.

The crowd consisted of about 200 people...

...including Tony Hurd and composer Pamela Z above.

Even SF Chronicle music critic Joshua Kosman above showed up, and he videotaped parts of the procession, which were posted on SF Gate (click here).

The Civic Center neighborhood essentially turns into a Christmas cultural factory during the month of December, with two daily performances of The Nutcracker by the SF Ballet on one side of Grove Street and everything from Handel's Messiah to a screening of Snoopy's Christmas Special at Davies Symphony Hall on the other side of the street.

It was delightful being part of a non-monetary seasonal cultural experience, ambling along city sidewalks with friends and strangers, surrounded by a moving, colorful, ambient soundscape that brought unexpected pleasure to passersby.

Jon Yu (above left) was the amiable group herder for the expedition as we zigged and zagged around the neighborhood. He even lent me a powerful little boombox which I returned with thanks when the procession passed in front of our apartment building on McAllister Street.

If you ever get a chance to be a part of Unsilent Night, which started in New York's Greenwich Village and has become an international happening, do it. It's like being inside of a moving choir, orchestra, and belfry, and is an enchanting experience.


Hattie said...

How very jolly! It's the time of the year to be of good cheer! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

Unsilent Night sounds like a great event. I wish when we crossed paths on your way out the door I could have joined you. Next year, I hope there is a reprise.